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Letter Urging Congress to Approve Legislation to Raise the Debt Ceiling and Avoid a Government Default

Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 8:00pm


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges Congress to approve legislation to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government default.

While the Congress, in February 2010, voted to increase the debt limit to $14.29 trillion, further action is needed to allow for the continued funding of government expenditures. The Department of the Treasury has indicated that the current limit will be reached in the coming weeks and certainly no later than August 2. Failure to raise the debt by that time would create uncertainty and fear, and threaten the credit rating of the United States.

In making this recommendation, the Chamber fully recognizes that the current and projected levels of government deficits and debt are unsustainable in the longer-run. A report by the Congressional Budget Office found that on the current path, the ratio of debt to GDP will double by 2027. Such a rapid deterioration in the nation’s finances would threaten the economic prospects of future generations. Debt levels of this magnitude would lead to higher interest rates and inflation, and lower job and economic growth, and would impede the ability of the United States to borrow in international capital markets.

Congress must address this growing debt. The Chamber believes it is imperative that any path to deficit reduction focus on growing the economy and the tax base and cutting spending, especially mandatory spending, rather than shortsighted tax increases. The Chamber believes the time for spending reform is now and that Congress must make more judicious spending decisions.

The Chamber urges Congress to raise the current debt ceiling as expeditiously as possible. The Chamber looks forward to working with Congress and the President to help reverse the long-run trend in government borrowing and ensure long-term prosperity.

R. Bruce Josten